Studies of two women's heads; both in profile to l, one at l wearing a hat, the other a mantle over her head and shoulders. c.1641-3 Pen and brown ink


© The Trustees of the British Museum

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Department: Prints & Drawings

Registration number: 1910,0212.188

Bibliographic reference
Hind 1915-31 20
Royalton-Kisch 2010 35 (Rembrandt)
Benesch 1973 677

Dutch Roy XVIIc

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Object types
drawing (scope note | all objects)

paper (all objects)
drawn (scope note | all objects)
Production person
Drawn by Rembrandt (biographical details | all objects)
1641-1643 (circa)
Schools /Styles
Dutch (scope note | all objects)

Two women's heads, turned to left; one at left wearing a hat, the other a mantle over her head and shoulders. c.1641-1643

Pen and brown ink.

Verso: blank.

No watermark.

Inscription Content: Under ultra-violet light, an erased pen and ink inscription visible top left: '300/70 [?]'.

Height: 70 millimetres
Width: 125 millimetres (chain lines horizontal, 27mm apart)

Presumably trimmed from a larger sheet; signs of old foxing throughout.

Curator's comments
Entry from Martin Royalton-Kisch, 'Catalogue of drawings by Rembrandt and his school', 2010, Rembrandt, cat. no.35:
The head on the left resembles, in reverse, that in Rembrandt's etched 'Sheet of Studies, with a Woman' of c.1641-2 (Bartsch 369, Hind 163).[1] The sketch on the right is closely comparable to the 'Study of an old Woman' in the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris (Benesch 678). Together, they are reminiscent of the elderly woman on the right of the 'Hundred Guilder Print' (Bartsch 74, Hind 236). In the Paris drawing, the line of the woman's headscarf is especially close to the print. These studies are also stylistically similar to the sketch of an 'Old Man led by a Woman' in the Louvre (Benesch 185) which is related to the same etching. The print is datable c. 1648,[2] but among Rembrandt's datable pen and ink sketches, the London and École des Beaux-Arts drawings are most nearly comparable to the 1641 'Two Men in Conversation' in the Courtauld Institute (Benesch 500a, Princes Gate Collection). Hence the date of c.1641-3 suggested here.
The British Museum's sketches were etched by J. J. de Claussin on the same plate as motifs from several other drawings, including the 'Woman with a Child frightened by a Dog' (Benesch 403, Paris, Institut Néerlandais) and cat. no.22, 1859,0915.1265, Benesch 687).

[1] See White and Boon, 1969, I, under no.B369. Middleton, 1878, and Hind, 1912/24, dated it 1639.
[2] See Exh. Amsterdam-London, 2000-2001, no.61.

LITERATURE (always as Rembrandt):
Michel, 1893, p.585; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.1128 (c.1635); London, 1915, no.20, repr. pl.IV (placed with drawings of c.1630-35); Benesch, 1935, p.35 (c.1640-41; compares École des Beaux-Arts drawing – see above – and old woman in painted 'Bathsheba' of 1643 in New York, Bredius 513); Benesch, IV, 1955/73, no.677, repr. fig.807/862 (c.1642-3; as in 1935, but also compares 'Mourners beneath the Cross', Benesch 520, priv. coll., which he connects with etched 'Descent from Cross' of 1642, Bartsch 82, Hind 199, and cat. no.30; Oo,9.75, Benesch 679); Sumowski, 1961, p.13 (notes etching by de Claussin); Amsterdam, 1981, p.48, repr. fig.c (relates to 'Sketch of a Woman' in Historisch Museum, Benesch 233, which dated to c.1635-42).

Acquisition date

Acquisition name
Bequeathed by George Salting (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Charles Sackville Bale (biographical details | all objects)

Acquisition notes
Chevalier de Claussin, his sale, Paris, 2 December, 1844, lot 68, 25 francs; Charles Sackville Bale; his sale, Christie’s, 15th day, 10 June, 1881, lot 2439, bt Salting, 6gns; George Salting, by whom bequeathed, 1910.

Exhibition History
London, 1910, p.4;
1912, no.156;
1938, no.20;
1992, BM Drawings by Rembrandt and his Circle, no.40, repr. (c.1641-3).

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